ANA Holdings and Aeronext have announced the launch of a business partnership to jointly develop delivery drones that will meet Level 4 of the Aerial Industrial Revolution roadmap (unaided flight over populated areas, beyond visual line of sight). The partnership will bring together the expertise of ANA Holdings in aircraft operation as an airline and drone operator with Aeronext's 4D GRAVITY technology. 4D GRAVITY is an aircraft structure design technology that enhances the basic performance of industrial drones. There are plans to collaborate with drone makers inside and outside Japan to mass produce drones based on aircrafts developed by the two companies. Ultimately, the companies are aiming for their technology to become part of the delivery infrastructure of the future.
Level 4 of the Aerial Industrial Revolution (unaided flight over populated areas, beyond visual line of sight) was described in June 2019 with the publication of the 2019 Roadmap for the Aerial Industrial Revolution by the Public-Private Sector Conference on Improving the Environment for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
Leveraging their expertise in safe operation of aircrafts as a drone operator, ANA Holdings plans to carry out a variety of tests in preparation for the commercialization of drone delivery services. In particular, the company will conduct demonstration flights over Fukuoka City and Goto City that meet Level 3 of the roadmap (unaided flight over unpopulated areas, beyond visual line of sight).
Aeronext aims to realize a drone-based society and pioneer economic development of a new region of airspace. Towards that goal, the company has focused its efforts on development of Next DELIVERY, a delivery drone equipped with 4D GRAVITY technology. The drone's segmented design separates the part that maintains flight from the part that carries the package, enabling it to keep the package horizontal at all times.
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